Social media fail: McDonald's refuses Burger King truce in ‘McWhopper for peace’ bid

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In a novel marketing stunt, Burger King invited McDonald's to put aside rivalries for just one day, and make a 'McWhopper' for World Peace Day. But all did not go to plan as its larger rival refused to bite the bait…

On a website dedicated to the idea, Burger King said: "Let's end the beef, with beef. If [McDonald's] chooses not to participate, no harm done – after all, peace isn’t always easy to achieve. Should they say yes, burger fans will get to experience the culinary mash-up of a lifetime and walk away inspired by the mouth-watering taste of peace."

The limited edition burger would be available in a co-branded pop-up restaurant in Atlanta, the mid-way point between McDonald's headquarters in Chicago and Burger King HQ in Miami.

However, customers wouldn't pay for their McWhopper with cash. Instead, they would be asked to sign a tray mat declaring who they will make peace with, under the hashtag #settlethebeef.


Burger King even made a video of how the combined burger would look:

Burger King has proposed a design for takeaway packaging and staff uniforms that incorporate the colour and logos of each company.

All proceeds would go to Peace One Day, the non-profit organisation behind the initiative that aims to achieve global ceasefire and non-violence for one day each year.The United Nations has set Sept. 21 as the day to celebrate world peace.

“Corporate activism on this scale creates mass awareness and awareness creates action and action saves lives,” Jeremy Gilley, founder of Peace One Day, said in a video posted on the website,, that Burger King is using to explain its proposal.

No Burger King executive was available for comment, but in a news release, Fernando Machado, the company’s senior vice president for global brand management, urged McDonald’s to help “make history and generate a lot of noise around Peace Day.”

Burger King is now part of a Canadian-based company called Restaurant Brands International, which was created by the private equity group 3G Capital when it merged the burger chain with Tim Hortons, a Canadian restaurant chain.

One sticking point might be the ketchup. McDonald’s famously stopped using Heinz ketchup when 3G bought the company, and Burger King has suggested using it on the McWhopper.

McDonald's frosty Facebook response- Not Lovin' It

But it seems the burger giant is less keen on mixing its ingredients with its rival fast food joint.

Steve Easterbrook, chief executive of McDonald's, replied to Burger King's bid with a Facebook post. He said the two brands "could do something bigger to make a difference" and questioned Burger King's choice to compare their business rivalry to "the unequaled circumstances of the real pain and suffering of war".

Dear Burger King, Inspiration for a good cause... great idea. We love the intention but think our two brands could...

Posted by McDonald's on Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The response has not gone down well on Facebook, with many fans criticising the frosty and passive aggressive tone. (See screenshoot of top responses below).



Following the high profile rejection from McDonald's, a group of chains including Denny’s, Krystal, Wayback Burgers, and Giraffas came forward to take up Burger King's idea of a mash-up burger for World Peace Day.

After McDonald's turned down the proposal, Burger King said that an "incredible thing" came from the rejection, which was "a significant number of unexpected responses from other restaurants, large and small."

View the tweets from all four chains below, accepting the offer:

Burger King put out an open letter to the slew of interested parties, which now includes Denny's, Krystal, Wayback Burgers, and something called Giraffas, which turns out to be a Florida mini-chain of fast-food churrascarias with ten locations.

The latest letter calls out on the following burger chains to join hands in this new initiative.

It reads:

“Denny’s, Wayback Burgers, Krystal, and Giraffas, we’d like to build on your individual proposals to collaborate on Peace Day, September 21, 2015. Our idea would be that we all come together to create a burger that combines a key ingredient from each of our signature sandwiches.”

Despite Mcdonald’s CEO’s Steve Easterbrook frosty rejection to the proposal, saying,“We commit to raise awareness worldwide, perhaps you’ll join us in a meaningful global effort?”, Burger King’s latest letter states that the offer is still valid for the market-leading fast food chain to come on-board.

It reads: “Although they haven’t yet agreed to come on-board, our original proposal still stands. Mcdonald’s please take your time. We’re totally at peace with it”.

The letter also revealed that a pop-up restaurant is already under construction. All they need from the fellow restaurants is a “simple yes” and their “cooperation and a donation to Peace One Day” on September 21.

The 'Peace Burger' went on sale in the pop up store for one day. See the press coverage from Bloomberg covering the launch below:

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